I was reminded of this truth today as I witnessed a strange and disturbing sight (you’ve likely seen this also). Passing by three young men, likely teenagers, I noticed that their pants were so baggy and oversized that one hand was required to keep them from falling around their feet. The pants actually sagged beneath the line of their rear ends, and as always, I shook my head in complete bewilderment.
“How can they do this to themselves?” I thought, and then I remembered Paul’s words. Human beings don’t do such absurd and destructive things to themselves. We rather fall victim to outside influences who seek our shame, damage and destruction.
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12).
Much harm that happens to the human race, while often by executed by our own hand, originates in the nefarious minds of devilish influences. Certainly, we participate in our hurt or demise by allowing it to happen, and we are fully responsible. "Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). Nevertheless, the self-protective bent ingrained in our humanity means that self-destructive behaviors always begin outside ourselves.
Several years ago in our area, a young man was struck and killed by a car as he sought to quickly cross a busy street. His pants fell down to his ankles as he ran, tripping him, and leaving him helplessly exposed to an oncoming vehicle. Again, the young man was fully responsible for his own suicide, as it were. However, entities beyond himself enticed him to an insane and dangerous behavior that tragically led to his untimely end.
This truth applies to countless human thought patterns, attitudes and behaviors that seem antithetical to a race that does not hate its own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. Indeed, no person would of themselves forfeit the use of a good arm simply to look ludicrous and foolish. “Help” is required for that, and whether it be the three young men I reference, or perhaps temptations we face in our lives, we do well to realize the existence of those entities always seeking our harm.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
(I Peter 5:8)